DayBreaks for 8/15/19 – Where Happiness Is

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DayBreaks for 08/15/19: Where Happiness Is

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2019:

Where in life can we find fulfillment and joy and happiness?  Solomon tried many things, as have others throughout time.  Whereas Hebrews chapter 11 gives us a roll call of the heroes of the faith, let me give you a different kind of roll call today that reflects the results obtained by others when they sought happiness:

It is not found in unbelief: Voltaire was an infidel of the strongest sort.  He wrote: “I wish I had never been born.”

It is not found in money: Jay Gould, an American millionaire, had plenty of money and the things it could buy.  He, when dying, said: “I suppose I am the most miserable devil on earth.”

It is not found in position, fame or power: Lord Beaconsfield had plenty of those things, but wrote: “Youth is a mistake, manhood a struggle, old age a secret.”

It is not found in loose living and infidelity: Thomas Payne, in his last moments of life, cried out: “O Lord, help me!  God, help me!  Jesus Christ, help me!”  Colonel Charteris said: “I would gladly give 30,000 pounds to have it proved to my satisfaction that there is no such place as hell.”

It is not found in pleasure: Lord Byron, who reveled in pleasure throughout his life, wrote on his last birthday: “My days are in the yellow leaf, The flowers and fruits of life are gone, The worm, the canker, and the grief, Are mine alone.”

It is not found in raw power: The name of Napoleon the Great, truly represents a life lived about power.  As a lonely prisoner at St. Helena, he summarized his life this way: “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires.  But on what did we found them?  On force!  Jesus Christ alone founded His on love, and today there are millions who would die for him!”

So where is happiness to be found?  Listen to Jesus: I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice and your joy no man will take from you.  (Jn. 16:22)  The answer is simple: in seeing Christ come as our friend and redeemer and not as our vengeful judge!

PRAYER:  Lord, hasten the day when the faith shall be sight and we shall turn our eyes toward the heavens and with great joy see Jesus coming again!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 12/12/18 – Happiness

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DayBreaks for 12/12/18: Happiness

From the DayBreaks Archive, 12/9/98:

The holidays are a tough time of year for many people. I know that there are those of you who will read these words who will be spending the first holidays without your parents, a child, a spouse or some other loved one. (Galen, 12/12/18: in fact, this is my first Christmas without my mother as she is now in glory with my dad.) As if that weren’t enough, others are unhappy because of a job that is taking the best you have to offer and no one seems to notice or appreciate your efforts. Financial burdens loom large at this time of the year. You may have guilt in your heart because you would like to give someone special something that is more than you can afford and you know you can’t give it – so you’ll settle for less and feel unhappy about it.

What is happiness? We have a sense that it is feeling cheerful, feeling good about yourself and the situation you are in. That’s what it has come to mean in our culture. But that wasn’t the original meaning or interpretation of happiness. From a Breakpoint by Charles Colson (11/9/98): “Dean Hudson, editor of Crisis magazine, writes that the classical idea of happiness had to do with a state of character and virtue. The ancient Greek word for happiness meant the formation of character over a lifetime. It referred to how well we conformed ourselves to reality: that is, the structure of the universe around us, and our own nature. Only by learning to live in accord with our true nature can we be genuinely happy.”

Our true nature is to be and act in the image of God. God doesn’t delight in things – He didn’t even delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices of the Israelites. He already owns everything. There isn’t anything we can give to Him that He needs. He is happy because He cannot be anything except true to His own nature. We, however, have been infected with a virus that has warped and twisted us and marred our own view of what our true nature is. It is only when we get back to understanding our true nature that we will find happiness.

It seems to me that the Greeks understood this pretty well: happiness is indeed the formation of character over a lifetime. And the character that is to be formed in us is the character of Christ. As He becomes more and more real and a bigger and bigger part of our lives – we’ll find more happiness than we could ever imagine!

Some people think more money would make them happy. Or to have one more child. A bigger home. The movie, “What Dreams May Come” suggests that heaven is going to be whatever we imagine it to be or want it to be. I think that’s wrong. Heaven will be much better than that because it will be what God wants it to be. My wanting is too corrupt and not imaginative enough. God knows what will make me happy – and He knows how to provide it in abundance!

PRAYER: May we learn that happiness is not something that can be purchased in a store, and that Your plan and will for us is far better than what we would choose for ourselves!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/20/18 – Was James Crazy?

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DayBreaks for 6/20/18: Was James Crazy?

In James 1:2-4, James wrote, Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Did you catch what James is suggesting?  “Consider it all joy”?  I mean, how many of us really wake up in the morning and say, “God, please send me trials today that I can be joyful!”  You’re much more likely to think: “James, you’re a nut.  Give me a break.  Every0one knows that trials are things to be avoided, not embraced!” 

Did James mean what he wrote?  Yes, I believe he meant EXACTLY what he said.  Pay close attention to his words or we’ll misunderstand what he’s trying to teach us.  He did not say: “Consider yourself lucky when trials rain down on your life a cloudburst.”  What he did say was this: “Consider it all joy.”  There is a difference between happiness and joy.

Larry Crabb perceptively wrote in his book, Shattered Dreams, “People who insist on happiness never find joy.”  We have a tendency to think that happiness and joy are the same thing.  They are not.  Happiness results when things we like and enjoy come to pass, but it is transient – it comes and goes.  Joy, however, is not something the comes and goes with the changing of circumstances.  Joy is a calmness that runs beneath life’s storms, it is a delight that settles the heart and gives the soul an anchor that holds fast in the midst of the greatest storms of life. 

May you experience both joy and happiness…but don’t confuse the two.  And if you can have only one – choose the joy that can rule in your heart even in the midst of various trials!

PRAYER: We thank You, God, for joy.  We thank you that in the midst of trials, we can have joy even though happiness seems far away.  May we have that joy knowing that in our trials, you are perfecting us and completing us as You please.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 10/27/16 – In Search of the Real Me

DayBreaks for 10/27/16 – In Search of the Real Me

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2006:

British style writer Neil Boorman has decided to burn every branded thing in his possession.   I am addicted to brands,” he confessed in a magazine article:

“From an early age, I have been taught that to be accepted, to be loveable, to be cool, one must have the right stuff.  At junior school, I tried to make friends with the popular kids, only to be ridiculed for the lack of stripes on my trainers.  Once I had nagged my parents to the point of buying me the shoes, I was duly accepted at school, and I became much happier as a result. As long as my parents continued to buy me the brands, life was more fun. Now, at the age of 31, I still behave according to playground law.

Boorman finally realized that the happiness found in his possessions is hollow and short-lived, leaving him with a “continual, dull ache.”  So he’s taking drastic action and turning to a life of simplicity.  He summarizes: The manner in which we spend our money defines who we are. … In this secular society of ours, where family and church once gave us a sense of belonging, identity, and meaning, there is now Apple, Mercedes, and Coke. … So, this is why I am burning all my stuff.  To find real happiness, to find the real me.

I am torn over this poor man’s actions.  He sounds like he’s recognized a problem in his life, and that’s good!  We spend much of our lives in denial that we have problems.  And when a problem does come up, we always try to find someone else to bear the blame for “our” problem.  So, in short, we usually are still in denial that we have problems that need to be fixed.  It’s a good thing that Mr. Boorman looked deeply into his heart and saw that something was broken that needed fixing. 

And it’s a good thing that he’s divorcing himself from the pride and vanity that go along with designer clothes, Air Jordan’s, the latest and greatest brand names, etc.  Those things invariably cost more than non-name brands, and chances are that they don’t last any longer.  They can’t make us younger, and wearing the name label clothes won’t work magic on how much we weigh (or where we carry that weight!)  I wonder if anyone has ever calculated, over the course of a lifetime, how much money could be saved and used in better ways (feeding the hungry, helping build houses for the homeless, etc.) if we bought generic instead of name brands.  It might be an interesting exercise.

But, I think Mr. Boorman is destined for frustration in his pursuit to “find the real me.”  He seems to think that by just getting rid of things that he’ll discover the real self.  It can help, but the real self is only seen when we look into the perfect law of liberty and let it speak to us about the real us, the ideal us, and how God loves the real us, sees the ideal us, and is at work to make the real us something that glorifies Him.  And is “real happiness” to be discovered by finding the “real me”?  I don’t think so.  The real me isn’t very pretty.  What God knows I will someday become – now that’s something to bring happiness to us!  But in the meantime, what I really need to find in order to have happiness in this life is the understanding of the grace and mercy of God that sees the real me, and loves me enough to not leave the real/sinful me alone, but sheds His blood, light and grace into my life to enable me to not become despondent in this world as I wait for the next. 

PRAYER:  Father, help us to see ourselves as you do, and to know that you love us infinitely.  May be find our happiness in serving you, other and in becoming more like Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 2/04/16 – What Are You Wearing?

DayBreaks for 2/04/16: What Are You Wearing?

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2006:

Happy feet.  That’s a term that could describe the kind of feet that dance and skip – feet that have to move because they are too full of joy and happiness to stand still!

In Psalm 30:11-12, David wrote: You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.  You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!

There are four key thoughts in this passage:

FIRST: As David puts it in past tense, “You HAVE turned my mourning into joyful dancing.”  That this is in the past tense is significant: it isn’t some blissful state in the future that David anticipates, but a present reality in his life.  It wasn’t something that he had to wait for until after he was dead – it was a blessing that he was enjoying as he went through this life.

SECOND: not only did God wipe away the tears of David’s mourning, he took David’s sackcloth away.  Sackcloth was the clothing of mourning, and the fact that God has taken it away and clothed David with joy is a beautiful picture.  The clothes of mourning don’t belong to David any longer – they can’t be found in his closet any longer – they’ve been replaced with the garments of joy!

THIRD: there was a purpose that God took away the sackcloth and gave David happy feet – it was so David would no longer be held captive by the silent suffering of mourning, but so that he could sing praises to God and give Him glory!  Notice who David said he would sing the praises to: “to You”, not to hundreds or thousands of people.  It is God that should hear our praises of His greatness.  We sometimes think that God heals our hurts and pains just because He wants us to feel better.  And while that may be true, there is always a bigger and greater purpose to God’s actions than just relieving us – it is to bring glory to Himself. 

FOURTH: when we begin to praise God regularly, it leads us to thankfulness – a thankfulness that is never-ending. 

Joy has a need to be expressed.  How is it being expressed in my life?  Am I clothed with joy or with sullenness and despair?  And when I am clothed with joy, do I take time to think of Him and thank Him?

Let’s try to visualize ourselves clothed in joy – the joy of the Lord – and to praise him.  I shouldn’t do it to see what kind of reaction it draws from those around me, or to have an impact on them (although that may happen), but I should do it simply to be praising Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER:  We have been blessed, Lord, with every spiritual blessing in You.  We have everything we need in this life in order to live lives of joy and happiness.  We have your blessings here on earth, we have an eternal home secured for us in the heavens, you have set us free from fear of death and the guilt of sin.  Father, clothe us in Your joy!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 5/04/15 – The Happiest Place on Earth

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DayBreaks for 5/04/15: The Happiest Place on Earth

It is called “the happiest place on earth.”  You may know it as Disneyland or Disneyworld.  When you think of the place (if you’ve been there) you may think of light-hearted music, Mickey Mouse hats, little children and the excitement of the Main Street Parade.  Those are not bad images.  I have fond memories of taking my children there and being there with grandchildren.  But is it really the happiest place on earth?

Think about it: you drive or fly hours to get there.  Then you check into a hotel that charges exorbitant rates just because they are close to the theme park.  The next morning you get up early and fight your way into a parking spot in a crowded lot.  You pay a highly inflated ticket that allows you to enter through the gates.  You stand in long lines, and if it hot, you may sweat profusely, while you wait an hour or more to take a ride down the mountain that lasts maybe 3 minutes and at the end of it you get soaked with water.  By early afternoon, the kids start to whine as they get tired (they really can’t help it, bless their little hearts!)  You buy a burger that’s not all that great but you nearly have to mortgage your home in order to feed the family because they are possibly the highest priced burgers on the planet. 

Night falls and the electric light parade starts and everyone is crowded along the streets but you must see it.  When the parade ends, you turn and see your little ones fell asleep long ago.  So you head to the parking lot, but have to buy a balloon at the exit which promptly is soaring heavenward when the balloon gets loose while you help your kids into the car.  You arrive back “home” at the hotel, get the kids to bed and collapse, relieved the day is over.  And then it hits  you – you have a 3-day pass and tomorrow you gave to go back again.  And suddenly, the happiest place on the earth isn’t quite so happy looking any more.

You see, happiness can’t be bought with money.  Happiness is transitory, temporal – it just doesn’t last.  But blessing does.  That’s the big difference between happiness and being blessed – blessing is timeless, happiness isn’t.

So if Disney isn’t the happiest place on earth, what is?  I think it isn’t as much a place as a way of living.  Solomon put it this way: Ecclesiastes 2:26 (NIV) – To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

The happiest place on earth must surely be inside the heart of the person who knows they are loved by Jesus and who walks by His side.

PRAYER: Lord, we so easily fall prey to thinking that happiness is in what we have or where we travel rather than in resting in Your love!  Teach us to seek to please You, for therein we will find more joy and happiness than we could ever imagine! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 12/04/12 – Let the Wedding Revel Begin!

DayBreaks for 12/04/12 – Let the Wedding Revel Begin

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Luke 5:33-39 (NLT) One day some people said to Jesus, “John the Baptist’s disciples fast and pray regularly, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why are your disciples always eating and drinking?”
34 Jesus responded, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. 35 But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

Advent is upon us.  Advent is about the coming of Christ.  In particular, we celebrate His coming as the Christ-child in Bethlehem during this season.  It also points us to the Second Advent – His return in glory to deliver His people and to judge the world.

The ancient Jews had waited for the Advent for a couple thousand years.  Perhaps that is why so many of their songs were melancholy.  They awaited deliverance.  They awaited the anticipated joy of the arrival of the Messiah.

In today’s text, Jesus was confronted because of the joy of his disciples.  If we were to put it in modern vernacular, we might say that the people were upset because his disciples were to raucous, too joyful.  Why is it that people have the impression that religious folk are supposed to be sour-pusses?  How did they get that impression?  I can only think that it is because of one thing: we tend to be sour-pusses.

Jesus’ disciples didn’t see it that way.  I don’t for one second believe that as his disciples reveled and celebrated with significant abandon that Jesus was sitting on a stool in a dark corner of the room with a frown and scowl on his face.  I believe if he’d been doing that, his disciples would have imitated him.  That’s what followers of rabbis did – imitate their master to learn to be like him.  So, what can we conclude?  I believe Jesus was a great “celebrater”!!!!

I wonder how much the expression of our relationship with Jesus resembles revelers at a wedding?  I suspect that it is more like the second part of Jesus’ statement: it seems as if we have gone into fasting, as if Jesus is not here.  What would we look like if we were riotously joyful?  How would the world’s perception of us change?  We are so busy being strict and looking for evil to condemn that we forget we have great reason to celebrate!!!!

Of course, we live with a strange dichotomy: Jesus is with is (Immanuel, “I will never leave you or forsake you”, etc.), yet we await His return (“I will come again and receive you unto myself”).  So, we should be characterized as people of incredible joy and also those with a great anticipation for His return.

There comes a time when it is necessary to do a new thing (new wineskins and new wine).  The old will no longer suffice.  It often takes great courage to do something new.  It stretches us, we find ourselves in unfamiliar confines, but as we grow and expand, we become more of the people that God created us to be and longs to see us become. This month, and then this year, let’s all try to be people of celebration!

PRAYER:  Let us revel in the great joy of belonging to you, Jesus! In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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